Dial-up Internet companies like AOL are very much alive, despite being seen as a thing of the past. In fact, AOL still gets millions of subscribers every year, based on multiple reports. As of 2021, AOL had 1.5 million customers still paying for Internet access through monthly subscriptions. Many of these subscribers are from rural America because of dial-up Internet’s prevalence in rural areas. Rural America’s unique relationship to the Internet is responsible for this surprising phenomenon.
Many mainstream Internet providers such as fiber-optic Internet companies are reluctant to extend their service to rural America for several reasons. First, it is not as profitable to do business in areas with low population density. Secondly, most rural areas lack the infrastructure necessary to support high-speed broadband Internet access. Dial-up Internet circumvents both of these issues by being available wherever there is a phone line installed.
Despite dial-up Internet’s apparent availability and reliability, it falls short in some crucial areas. Dial-up Internet is notoriously outdated and low-performance compared to other types of Internet for rural areas. Unlimited satellite Internet providers such as Starlink and unlimited 4G rural Internet providers such as UbiFi are capable of reaching highly remote areas with Internet access while still providing high-speed, high-performance service. In the case of mobile Internet providers like UbiFi, rural residents can even get access to low-latency Internet service ideal for rural gaming and other online activities that require minimal latency.
Whether you choose UbiFi, Starlink, or some other rural Internet service provider, be sure to do research on the pros and cons of each option so that you can make an informed decision when choosing the best Internet provider for your needs.